ISLAMABAD - The Higher Education Commission (HEC) again violating the rules has extended the services of its two top officials of Management Position Scale without any approval from the Prime Minister who is its controlling authority, sources said on Monday.

The 17-member Commission of HEC in its 27th meeting renewed the four-year contract of HEC Executive Director Sohail Naqvi and gave three-month extension to Advisor Human Resource Development Dr. Riaz Hussain Qureshi.

The Commission represents Vice Chancellors, nominated members of Prime Minister and the provincial governments, Secretary of Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) while HEC Chairman heads the Commission and Executive Director also attended the meeting as member of the Commission.

The officials of the HEC claim that the Commission unanimously appreciated the efforts, contributions and commitment of Prof. Dr. Sohail Naqvi for higher education sector in Pakistan and renewed his contract exercising its powers and in recognition of his services.

However, according to information the Establishment Division in the past too had raised questions about the appointments in MP Scales I to III made by the HEC including Dr. Sohail Naqvi in MP-I on Sept 16, 2004 and Dr. Riaz Qureshi in MP-II.

The Establishment Division is of the view that the recruitments in MP Scales is the prerogative of the Prime Minister, but HEC has been making all such appointments without getting approval from him and even extended their services in violation of set rules and procedures.

Dr. Sohail Naqvi whose four-year term as ED, going to be expired on September 15, has been appointed on the same position for the third time after securing successive extensions in his service. According to reports, the second tenure granted by the Commission to him was also in violation of the Ordinance. As per HEC Ordinance 2002 the term of the ED is four years.

According to media reports, Secretary MoST Akhlaq Ahmed Tarar had also raised concern on the appointments and extensions given by the Commission and through a letter enquired from the Establishment Division about the powers of the Commission to initiate an independent Selection Board for appointments.

HEC Chairman Javaid Laghari who also heads the Commission could not be reached despite repeated attempts while Executive Director also did not attend his cell phone.

Besides this the Commission also gave approval for the establishment of Pakistan Technology Council for accreditation and development of technology programmes of universities. The Federal Council will also work for adoption of recognized and best practices of academically advanced countries.